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Old July 24th, 2018, 04:44 PM   #94
Chuck Wagner
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 77


Along with "dead wool", another source of a feeling of dryness and stiffness to wool is kemp, which is a hair-like fiber that doesn't absorb dye or lanolin very well, and which is difficult to separate with most short-fleeced sheep.

The best wool, in terms of softness and sheen, is merino wool; merino sheep have little kemp and it's usually around the head and legs, which makes it pretty simple to exclude. In Central Asia they call it "Beljiqi", presumably because it is imported from Belgium. It is used in recent Afghan production, like the Khal Mohammadi rugs.

Also, Rich, I got to KSA in the early 80's; by then the rug dealers in the Eastern Province, Jiddah, and Riyadh were well established. In the 60's many people just got on a plane and went to Iran or Afghanistan; things changed in the late 70's because of political upheaval in Iran and Afghanistan - and many of the traders moved their operations to Dubai and Bahrain.

It was that disruption, I think, that was contemporary with the onset of ghastly Baluch and Afghan rugs. Dick Parsons was there for the last of the "good times" (such as they were) and discusses some of the effects of the upheaval in his book.

I had forgot about Tchitchaktu rugs; I guess I'll have to thumb through the book again.

Chuck Wagner is offline